Tasmania – Bruny Island delights

By Kerry Scambler
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South Bruny National Park

South Bruny National Park

Bruny Island, Tasmania
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Bruny Island, Tasmania

 

If you're looking for a dash of fresh air and adventure with your wine and food, then a long weekend on Bruny Island in Southern Tasmanian might be just what the doctor ordered.

We discovered some perfect ingredients for a long weekend away with friends, especially if you share a love of the outdoors, but also enjoy downing oysters – freshly plucked from the clear waters of Southern Tasmania –  fine wine, cheese and seafood. Oh, and seeing the spectacular coastline up close. Real close.

Our weekend on Bruny looked like this:

 

Stay: 970 Adventure Bay - a very comfortable holiday home with stunning views from the deck, barbeque area and enclosed verandah (perfect for cooler afternoons with a book to disguise shut eyes). It's only a stone's throw from the jetty – just as well we remembered the fishing rods! Sitting in the late afternoon sun, legs dangling over the edge and fishing rod in hand can be hard to beat. The house is also close to the beach, shops, cafes and within walking distance of Rob Pennicott's Bruny Island Cruises, but more on that later.

 

Walk: If you like to earn your wine and food with a good walk, there are several on offer ranging in hardship and time. We chose the four hour (or so) Cape Queen Elizabeth walk and weren't disappointed – long, white beaches devoid of people, spectacular coastline views, scrub which varied along the way and culminating on the Cape. The perfect spot for some lunch.

If you prefer a shorter stroll with a snapshot of the views on offer, then the view from the lookout On the Neck between north and south Bruny is well worth the effort of climbing the stairs – pristine beaches and fresh air abound. Look out for the fairy penguins, too

 

Savour cheese:  following the walk, we called in for a cheese tasting at the Bruny Island Cheese Company. Given our exertions, we went to the fridge first for a refreshing drink and were delighted to discover Two Metre Tall Cleansing Ale – perfect. 'Four, thanks' and outside with a platter of Nick Haddow's delicious and unique cheeses to taste. Purchase decisions were difficult – only because we liked so many and only had so much fridge space – then there was the trip home to consider. We managed to make a selection, including plenty of the delicious Tom, and continued our journey, seriously thinking about a return visit, perhaps for one of their workshops.

 

Taste seafood: the oysters at Get Shucked simply couldn't be fresher and there's just something indulgent about downing them au naturel, sitting on a beach in the warm autumn sunshine. It was hard but we managed to get a few extra dozen back to base without succumbing to temptation,  then it was a mix of Bloody Marys and Kilpatricks all round.

 

Sip wine: it's Australia's most southernmost vineyard so there's certainly no doubt that it's cool climate. At Bruny Island Premium Wines, Bernice took us through a tasting which included some great chardonnay and a rather flavoursome pinot noir that was soon converted to a bottle purchase.

 

Hang on to your hat: absolutely the only way to see this sensational coast line and learn about the marine life, geology, local history and have some fun along the way is with Pennicott's Bruny Island Cruises.

We mustered at the booking office/café and after indulging in some beautiful muffins straight front the oven, Robert Pennicott introduced himself and then it was all aboard the four signature bright yellow boats. Rob's business is clearly a family concern with his son seeing us off from the jetty where we left him fishing and 'keeping an eye on things, Dad'. 

After donning rather attractive red cloaks (just in case we happened to be caught by waves unawares), we were kindly offered ginger tablets which most passengers took advantage of – after all, who wanted to chance any queasy feelings when the trip promised so much? And it certainly delivered.

Rob’s staff share his huge enthusiasm for their surroundings and have a gift for imbuing visitors with that same feeling of wonder and amazement. They do these trips every day but you never get any sign that their own enjoyment of the environment is waning.

Travelling out of the bay and down the coast, there's plenty to see and hear about: an old whaling settlement, some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, albatross, dolphins, seals aplenty and the ocean, grey to start with then deepening blue as the clouds lifted.

There are also some extra highlights – the blow hole, the monument plus the sheer manoeuvrability of the boat and the skill of those at the helm add some thrills (but no spills) to the whole experience. And did we mention the de-brief treat?

The Pennicotts' strong environmental commitment is ever present but their principle is to educate and illustrate, not lecture and dictate. After three hours out on the water, It would indeed be hard not to feel some deep stirring of respect and concern for our natural world. That all this is done with humour and a genuine interest in their passengers is a great reflection on the people who take you into their world.

After this trip, it's clear why Bruny Island Cruises recently won the national Ecotourism category at the Australian Tourism Awards.

 

Berry tasty: whilst we went adventuring, our friends discovered the joy of mixed berries in champagne jelly with Meander Valley double cream at the Bruny Island Berry Farm. The stunning beachfront views are perfect for savouring the sweeter things in life.

There are many other things to see, taste and do as well as various styles of accommodation on Bruny – we're already making a list for our next visit to this island that's only small on the outside.

 

Kerry and her partner enjoyed their eco-cruise with the compliments of the Bruny Island Cruises (but would have readily paid for the experience). They received no benefits from any other businesses mentioned above, other than great produce and friendly service.

 

Regions

  • Bruny Island (TAS)
  • Huon and Channel (TAS)
  • Southern Tasmania (TAS)

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